What happens when I’m all my child has left?

As a mother, you want your child to know that you’ll always be there for them when they need it the most. But what happens when you’re all they have left? Because of their addiction, they can no longer turn to others in the family — their siblings, another parent, grandparents, aunt and uncles — who don’t understand what they’re going through or may have even cut off contact altogether.

You, their mother, remain steadfast in your support. This causes tension and friction with your partner and within your family. Yet, how can you walk away now, when they’re struggling the most? You can’t abandon your child, especially now as they struggle with addiction, but you know things can’t continue the way they’re going.

How do I know when it’s time to make a change without completely walking away from my child?

Cutting off contact and walking away isn’t an option for you, but things are getting worse and worse. Here’s what you’re experiencing:

  • Your child is using drugs or alcohol and may be addicted, and you know this because:
  • Your child no longer looks and/or behaves like the child you raised.
  • Your child has crisis after crisis in his/her life and is unable to navigate through them.
  • You hide a lot of what is happening from friends and family.
  • You feel responsible and like a failure as a parent.
  • You don’t want to talk to friends and family about what’s happening. Not only are you afraid of them knowing, you also fear judgment or criticism of the actions you’re taking for your child experiencing addition.
  • You’re sad, lonely, and feel isolated because no one you love truly understands that you believe you’re the only one your child has left to lean on. You wish they would see it from your perspective, that you can’t abandon them in their greatest time of need.

Do you find yourself trying these methods to justify your actions and explain to those around you why you can’t just walk away, even when your child continues to treat you badly?

Method 1: You hide what’s happening from those around you. You don’t talk to anyone about the latest crisis your child has experienced and how you helped them, yet again. You do things like getting rid of bank statements so your partner doesn’t know you gave them money, yet again. You don’t want anyone to know for fear of them getting upset.

Method 2: You make excuse after excuse for your child’s actions. You explain their addiction away as childhood trauma they experienced, the mental illness they were diagnosed with, the way they were treated as a child by another family member. You find a way to justify their actions in every way possible without actually “blaming” the addiction itself.

Method 3: You explain to your partner and other kids that they are hurting your child. Their unwillingness to help and support their loved one by cutting off contact or being mean with their words and actions are doing damage to your child as they struggle with addiction. You constantly point out their actions, causing even more tension among everyone.

Clearly these methods aren’t working. It’s time to try something new, something that doesn’t include abandoning your child.

When you learn to Love Another Way, your family relationships will begin to improve. The small steps you take when you’re fully prepared will mean your family members will take small steps of their own, leading to a point where there’s mutual respect. This will also allow you and them to create a more consistent message, something that your child will need to choose recovery over addiction. This consistency is much more important than the exact choice you make in any given situation when interacting with your child struggling with addiction.

Learn to love your child in a way that does not enable this addiction but rather supports him or her in the way they need supporting. Learn to Love Another Way instead of opting for the intuitive way we usually love and support our children. 

Why is it important to Love Another Way?

Understand that people with addiction will take and take and take — that’s the nature of the disease. You need to be the one to make a change in the way you love your child and say “no” to the disease, otherwise you are fueling a growing fire and enabling behavior and actions that don’t encourage the choice of recovery.

Also understand that your other family members want and need you to be present in their lives. They watch your child’s addiction take your time, love, and attention away from nurturing your relationships with them. They remember what it was like before things got bad, and they miss the “old you” and the time you used to spend together.

Today: Take this step.

Seek out the education you need to know how your child’s thinking has changed due to their addiction and how to support them the best way you know how. Research shows that those struggling with addiction (in lucid moments) rate their parent’s success in helping them as 2.4 out of 5, and the children themselves say this low rating is because parents are giving too much — not because parents aren’t giving enough.

Are you giving too much, too little, or just the right amount?

Use my “Get Out of the Middle” Worksheet to decide if your family or your child struggling with addiction is asking too much of you.

Get Out of the Middle Worksheet

Move on to Step 2: Watch my workshop to learn more.

I had a very hard time myself doing what felt like was “abandoning” my child in his time of need. Once I started to understand how I could Love Another Way, my perspective shifted. It became crystal clear to me that by continuing to support his addiction, I was actually abandoning him to the control of the disease.

Watch This Workshop for how to NOT Abandon Your Child

I hope you find a pocket of joy in your day today.
Reach out anytime, because I care.

Barbara

Certified Family Recovery Specialist (CFRS)

Leave a Comment:

26 comments
cindy says July 12, 2021

Hi Barbara I listened a year or so back to one of your presentations. It was good. I would like to listen to this one. Is it free? Thank you

Reply
    Barbara Decker says July 12, 2021

    HI Cindy – I’m glad you enjoyed the prior presentation. Yes, this one is free. Barbara

    Reply
Janet Sabo says July 11, 2021

I love my daughter but it’s time she gets her a t together. I’m raising her 8 yrs old son
He wants nothing to do with her she scares him.

Reply
    Barbara Decker says July 11, 2021

    Janet – yes, the children really have the worst of this.

    Reply
Tibet says May 9, 2021

This is exactly what I did with my son. Unfortunately he died of fentanol overdose last year. I also have a daughter who’s addicted to alcohol and am trying to love her as you suggest.

Reply
    Barbara Decker says May 9, 2021

    I am so very sorry for your loss. Happy Mother’s Day:)

    Reply
Ann Davison says May 8, 2021

Thanks for letting me know what to do

Reply
    Barbara Decker says May 8, 2021

    You are very welcome Ann.

    Reply
Teresa Yates says May 8, 2021

People are talking about a free session. How can i do this to try it?

Reply
    Barbara Decker says May 8, 2021

    Hi Teresa. Go back to this page.

    Scroll to the bottom and sign up from the large green button. Let me know, if you don’t mind, how my approach resonates with you.

    Reply
Bernice Yahyahkeekoot says May 8, 2021

Is there books that can help?

Reply
    Barbara Decker says May 8, 2021

    Bernice – I read lots of books and each one was interesting and none of them really helped me. That’s why I decided instead of traditional retirement that I would do this work. For me, this would have filled a gap and lots of other moms confirm it does for them also.

    Reply
Theresa Slater-Smith says May 8, 2021

What if our child has abandoned us? He has chosen a girlfriend who supports his psychosis and all the lies that go with it.

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    Barbara Decker says May 8, 2021

    I am sorry to have to say that this is part of the disease. It is not your true son that has made this decision. It is the disease. In these cases, I encourage my students to use my Love Another Way Framework to establish a different kind of connection with their “child” and often it is works out very well.

    Reply
      Theresa Slater-Smith says May 8, 2021

      Thank you.

      Reply
        Barbara Decker says May 8, 2021

        Welcome:)

        Reply
Margaret Robb says May 8, 2021

I appreciate your help

Reply
    Barbara Decker says May 8, 2021

    My pleasure Margaret.

    Reply
Lise Schwark says May 4, 2021

My free session is set up for tonight. Looking forward to it.

Reply
    Barbara Decker says May 4, 2021

    Excellent – email us afterward and let us know how it resonates with you, Lise.

    Reply
Mary says May 4, 2021

One day at a time

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    Barbara Decker says May 4, 2021

    Yepper – thanks for your note, Mary.

    Reply
Teresa says May 4, 2021

Hello Barbara….I really appreciate your blog….for those of us who have difficulty hearing the webcasts this is a life saver.

Reply
    Barbara Decker says May 4, 2021

    Hi Teresa – Thanks for your note. On my membership platform, I now have all the core program videos with full transcripts and slides for hearing impaired and for those that do better by reading. I’m working on the same kind of functionality for the bonus content I provide to students. So this is good to know:)

    Reply
Shelia Henderson says April 21, 2021

This wonderful! Thank you so much for your experience, work and education that you put into helping us to learn to Love Another Way.

Reply
    Barbara Decker says April 21, 2021

    Thank you so much, Shelia!

    Reply
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